[Preview] A Lovable Horror Film Lead Girl and Her ‘Chilling Romance’
“The female protagonists of horror films have to be lonely. Only then will her cries sound more desperate…”
Like a Rapunzel stuck in her tower because of a curse, there is here a beautiful girl who lives alone, cursed to see ghosts everywhere. Will love come to warm this girl’s world?
The female protagonist Kang Yeo Ri of Chilling Romance is a beautiful girl in hiding. She believes “the female protagonists of horror films have to be lonely,” and so she lives alone in a large and dark house, cut off from her family and friends. One day, she meets on the street a magician named Ma Jo Gu (Lee Min Ki) and puts together a horror magic show with him, but while Jo Gu records success after success as a horror magician, Yeo Ri avoids meeting even with her fellow staff members and lives like a ghost or a shadow in the dark. Jo Gu is bothered on why Yeo Ri is acting this way, and accidentally learns of her secret.
Yeo Ri turns out to be a psychic who can see ghosts, and has been living alone because a ghost of an old friend kept appearing around her loved ones. Jo Gu blames his weak character and tries to forget about Yeo Ri, but in the end he breaks up with his successful girlfriend to chase after her.
Chilling Romance breaks down the usual course of corny romances, and brings together horror and romantic comedy in a unique genre of its own. A female protagonist with a scarier background than Jun Ji Hyun of My Sassy Girl or Choi Kang Hee of My Scary Girl appears, and she gets involved in a fearful love that is hindered by many ghosts. But because of these many obstacles, the result of her love is all the more desperate and true. The story could have been weaker, but the horror scenes in which the ghosts appear are as scary as those in traditional horror films, and make your heart beat in fear. The horror magic show that Jo Gu performs is also so strangely attractive that you find yourself immersed in the show before you know it, somewhat reminiscent of a scene in the film The Illusionist.
Chilling Romance scares you silly, but in the next moment suddenly makes you burst into tears. The scene where Yeo Ri shows her warm heart and pats Jo Gu on the back saying, “The first way to overcome your fear, being comforted!” is more beautiful and touching than any scene in any other romantic film. You start thinking ‘How can the main female lead of a horror film be this lovable?’ but then you can’t write off how hard Son Ye Jin worked to break herself down for the film. She puts on tacky clothes and dons a ghostly hairdo on purpose, but she shines as the bold Yeo Ri, who still dreams of love and says life is so much fun even after going through so much in her life.
The scene in which Yeo Ri can be seen drunk is the funniest scene in Chilling Romance. Her mumblings of “How can you not drink when there are drinks in front of you,” “How can you not come when a man calls you,” “You’re like pork rinds; you have no true spirit in your heart,” and her expressions when she says these lines are funny and yet so cute at the same time. When she rips Jo Gu’s shirt in the end, the film makes you burst into laughter.
The supporting actors also spice up the scary and sweet comedy of Chilling Romance. Park Chul Min, Kim Hyun Sook and Lee Mi Do come out as love coaches for Yeo Ri and Jo Gu, and contribute to the relationship between Yeo Ri, who learned love on the phone, and Jo Gu, who is too reserved. They cheer Yeo Ri on even when she tries out a ‘hamburger kiss’ and tells Jo Gu that she wants “to feel an orgasm,” keeping you laughing until the end.
While November romcoms are continuing to flop in the box office, Chilling Romance, a film which breaks through the usual frame of romantic comedy and rediscovers Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki, will probably give couples and lonely singles the hope and courage they need. The film will premiere on December 1, and is for those who are 12 years or older.
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